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Minster; but before this could be done, messengers came from the king to arrest him and bring him prisoner to London. This was the death-blow of the unhappy cardinal. He advanced as far as Leicester on his sorrowful journey; but there, fear and anguish of mind brought him to the grave, complaining with his dying breath-"Had I but served my God as diligently as I have served the king, He would not have given me over in my grey hairs."

The Lord Chancellor who succeeded Wolsey, was a very different man. The wisdom, wit, and eloquence of Sir Thomas More made him the most renowned Englishman of his time; he was deeply learned, and his writings are still much admired: but we remember him for his virtues quite as much as for his genius. He did not care in the least for outward show and parade, or for great riches; he delighted in study, in works of charity, and, above all, in the care and instruction of his family. All his children and grandchildren lived under the same roof with him, and there was not a happier home in England, for More made every one about him merry and wise


Before he became a judge he had been a great lawyer, and used to seek out poor persons who were involved in law-suits, especially any distressed widow or orphans who needed an advocate to plead their cause, and to these he would give his best services without any fee or reward. And after he was made Lord Chancellor he showed the same anxiety that no one should suffer wrong for want of money to seek redress in a court of law.



The king often sent for More that he might enjoy his delightful conversation, and would sometimes visit him at his own house without any ceremony. His children were elated at this extraordinary honour put upon their father; but More discerned Henry's true character beneath his seeming friendliness, and checked their rejoicing by telling them there was no cause to be proud of the king's favour-"If my head could win him a castle in France, he would strike it off without fail." And at the end of a very few years the head of this virtuous man was struck off, not even to win a castle for his ungrateful master, but because he was too honest to say that which he did not believe.

The king required him to declare that it was right for Katharine of Arragon to be sent away, and for Anne Boleyn to be queen in her stead; and also that it was right for Henry to be head of the English Church instead of the pope. More did not think these things were right, and could not say so. He did not oppose the king, he gave up his office of chancellor, and only begged that he might be allowed to live quietly at home with his family. But Henry was enraged that his will should be crossed. He tore More away from his pleasant home; shut him up in close confinement for more than a year, and then caused his head to be cut off upon a false charge of treason.

From that time the king seemed to become more cruel than before, and the last eighteen years of his reign were filled with deeds of blood. Amongst the victims whom he sent to the scaffold was his cousin, Margaret Plantagenet, Countess of Salisbury, an aged

lady of seventy. (She was the sister of that unhappy Earl of Warwick, who was kept in prison nearly all his life, and then beheaded by Henry the Seventh.)

The Countess Margaret had several sons; the youngest of them, Reginald Pole, who was a priest and a clever man, had excited Henry's wrath by refusing to take part with him against the pope; he had also said plainly that he thought the king in many respects acted wickedly. Reginald Pole was abroad, out of the king's reach; but Henry took fearful vengeance on those members of the family who were in England. His eldest brother, and his cousin the Marquis of Exeter, were put to death, another brother was imprisoned for life, and his aged mother, after enduring much ill-treatment, was condemned to be beheaded. Reginald Pole became a cardinal, and we shall find him playing an important part in another reign.

The last of Henry's victims was the gallant Earl of Surrey, the grandson of the victor of Flodden, and the most accomplished nobleman in England: he was executed on some pretence of treason. His father, the Duke of Norfolk, was involved in the same accusation. Norfolk was a bad man, a very different character from his son; but he had done nothing for which it was lawful to put him to death. Nevertheless he would have had his head cut off, if the king had not died a few hours before the time fixed for Norfolk's execution.

Henry the Eighth breathed his last on the 28th January, 1547, after a reign of nearly thirty-eight years. Notwithstanding his cruelties, of which in this little history we have not told the hundredth



part, he was always a popular king with the lower orders of the people. They were allowed to see him without restraint when he was amusing himself with out-door sports, and there was a rough mirthfulness in his character which pleased them greatly. His parliaments were afraid to provoke his anger, and basely gave their consent to all his worst deeds. There was only one thing they would not allow him to do to tax the people without their consent. He tried to do so, but the attempt was so stoutly resisted that he was forced to give it up.

There was one thing in which Henry the Eighth showed the spirit of an English king: he took great pains to create a navy. Ever since the time of Henry the Fifth, the kings of England had possessed a few ships of their own; but Henry the Eighth established the royal dockyards of Deptford, Woolwich, and Portsmouth. He made laws for the planting and preserving of trees, so that there might always be a supply of timber fit to build ships of war. He was the first to appoint regular salaries for the officers and sailors; and he did several other things which helped to raise up those "wooden walls of Old England" of which we are so justly proud.

In the year 1543, Henry the Eighth gave better laws to Wales: increased the number of the Welsh counties to twelve; and ordered that every county and chief town should send a member to the English Parliament.



(From 1547 to 1552.)

HENRY THE EIGHTH left three children: Edward, the son of Jane Seymour, who was nine years of age when his father died; Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who was thirteen; and Mary, the daughter of Katharine of Arragon, who was thirtyone. He had given them a very learned education, and the little prince was already remarkable for his love of knowledge. He was also a very amiable boy, and his early wisdom and piety gave promise of a happy reign; but it pleased God to disappoint these fair expectations: Edward lived but a very few years, and was too young to be king excepting in name.

The real rulers of England during his reign were, first, his uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, and then Dudley, Earl of Warwick, afterwards made Duke of Northumberland. It had been a favourite plan with Henry the Eighth to marry his son Edward to the little Mary, Queen of Scotland. Mary was the granddaughter of James the Fourth, who fell at Flodden; she had become the Queen of Scots even in her cradle, for her father, James the Fifth, died a few days after her birth. If she had been given in marriage to Edward, the whole island would have been united under one ruler, and there would have been an end to the wars between England and Scotland. Some of the Scottish lords were willing to consent to the marriage, but Henry was impatient to make them all do so, and went to war.

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